Buying a dedicated server or moving a site to a new network provider can be a stab in the dark in that it is often not easy to see the quality and reliability of the provider’s network performance until after the purchase has been made.
Netcraft’s view is that lack of transparency on network performance and outages harms the whole industry, both consumers and providers.
Just as the customer suffers from not being able to make an informed choice between suppliers taking into consideration network response times as well as price, vendors with fast and reliable networks have no easy way of empirically showing the prospect the relative quality of service of their network relative to other players in the market.
Ignorance plays into the hands of the companies investing less in their networks, since they will be better able to discount, and their longer response times and network outages will be less obvious to the customer.
More widespread knowledge helps the industry as a whole, because better informed customers are more willing to pay more for superior connectivity, and the extra revenue coming into the industry can be invested in further improving resilience, performance, and support creating a virtuous circle.
Key metrics include;
- fewer outages – no one wants to be on a network that suffers frequent loss of connectivity.
- Shorter outages – customers will be more tolerant of short outages which may be operationally difficult to avoid;
- faster response times – the shorter the response times, the better.
Netcraft is measuring and making available the response times of fifty leading hosting providers’ sites to give an indication of the relative and absolute response times currently available in the industry. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from four separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.
Using the performance of a hosting providers own site to determine the performance of the hosting companies network is only indicative. By default the sites are ranked in order of fewest failed requests, and shortest time to connect, in order to give the clearest indication of network capacity and congestion, with the least impact from the performance of the companies’ own web servers, though it is possible to sort by any column by clicking on the column heading.
If you are using the table as a guide when choosing where to locate a dedicated or collocated server, remember that connection times fluctuate continually, and only hundredths of a second separate the top companies. Avoiding companies showing prolonged outages is likely to be a better strategy than necessarily going for the company with the fastest connection time.
Factors other than network performance, including quality of support and price will also be important. If you are considering shared hosting then the load on the shared hosting system will likely be a greater constraint on the performance of your site than network connection time.
If you represent a hosting company and would like to be included in the table, or if you are researching prospective hosting locations and would like more detailed performance information please mail us.